he word nougat [ˈnuːɡət] comes from Occitan (also called Old Provençal) word pan nogat [ˈpa nuˈɣat], that seemingly came from Latin panis nucatus, meaning ‘nut bread’ (nucatum means ‘nutted’ or ‘nutty’). Nuts, right!?
What is Nougat
Nougat is a type of confection made of sugar, honey, egg whites, nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, and sometimes candied or dried fruits. This chewy candy can be eaten alone, or it can be used as a filling inside candy bars and chocolates. This delicacy is a very popular type of candy in many European countries, especially during Christmas holidays.
Three Types of Nougat
I’ve learned today from numerous internet sources that there are three types of nougat – white nougat, brown nougat, and German nougat.
- So-called “White nougat” is the nougat I am talking about in this post. I don’t call it white nougat – just nougat. Italians call it Torrone, the Spanish call it turrón, the French call it nougat de Montélimar. This type of nougat is the real thing!
- You will also find something called “Brown nougat” which is a mixture of caramelized sugar and nuts, rolled out in a thin layer. When it cools down it is hard and crunchy. This isn’t nougat, this is nougatine! Those three letters make a huge difference, believe me! While nougat is made of egg whites, honey, sugar, and nuts, nougatine is made of nuts and sugar only. Nougat is chewy, and nougatine is hard and crunchy.
- Finally, German nougat or Viennese nougat is a mixture of chocolate, sugar and nuts, usually hazelnuts. In Germany, you will get that mixture if you try to buy nougat. It is absolutely delicious, however, it isn’t the nougat we all know. One more thing – German nougat is exactly the same thing like chocolate gianduia in Italy!
Who Invented Nougat
According to one legend, nougat was born in Cremona, Italy in 1441. That happened during a wedding of local nobility where the bride and groom – Bianca Maria Visconti and Francesco Sforza, were offered a sweet made with honey, almonds and egg whites. It was in the shape of the Torrazzo, a 13th century tower, from which the Italian word for nougat, “Torrone”, originated.
In France, the most famous nougat is nougat de Montélimar. Montélimar [mɔ̃.te.li.maʁ] is a commune in the Drôme department in southeastern France. The French claim that the origin of the Nougat dates back to the 12th century, where it first appeared in Middle-Eastern documents. It was named Halou from the term Hlou, that means “sweet” in Arabic. When Phoenicians crossed the Mediterranean Sea, the Nougat spread over the European continent.
How to Make Nougat
- Prepare a baking pan 20×20 cm (8×8 inches) in size. Line it with parchment paper and put a sheet of edible wafer paper on the bottom, so it covers the bottom of the pan. If your wafer paper is smaller, you can add another piece of it so it covers the bottom of the pan. Prepare another sheet of wafer paper for the top of your nougat too, and set it aside.
- Have all the ingredients ready. This is very important because once you start cooking and whisking, you will have to act quickly and at the right moment. The sugar thermometer is a must.
- Put the egg whites into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment.
- Put honey in a small pan, and put sugar with some water into another pan.
- Prepare all the nuts. Toast them, and chop them or leave them whole if you like. Put them into a bowl along with dried fruits if you are using them, and leave in the oven at the temperature of 120°C (250°F) until needed.
- Start cooking honey, and when it reaches 110°C (230°F) start whisking the egg whites on high speed.
- When honey reaches 120°C (250°F), the egg whites should be whipped to soft peaks. Immediately pour the honey into the egg whites, and start cooking your sugar syrup. Continue whisking the egg whites as you cook the syrup.
- When the syrup boils, add the glucose and continue cooking until it reaches 155°C (311°F). At that point carefully pour the syrup into the mixture of egg whites and honey.
- Continue whisking for another couple of minutes.
- Add vanilla and melted cocoa butter and continue whisking for another minute.
- Stop the mixer and mix the hot nougat with prepared nuts using wooden spoon. The mixture will be very sticky.
- Transfer the nougat into prepared pan, cover with prepared wafer paper and smooth out with your hand.
- Leave the nougat to cool completely at room temperature.
- Once cold, you can cut your nougat into bars or squares, as desired.
Well, what do you think about this post?
I read and really appreciate all the comments, even though I do not always have the time to respond to each one. So – keep me in the loop and try to create some sweetness every day because – Sweetness is happiness!!